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February 10, 2005
Conflict Of Interest At The WSJ

Bret Stephens, who wrote a Wall Street Journal piece on Eason Jordan that mildly criticized his "defamatory innuendo" but suggested that his critics were in the middle of a meltdown, may have his own ethical issues to face. Stephens failed to disclose his own connections to the World Economic Forum and his access through an affiliated, exclusive club when he wrote his critique on l'affaire Eason earlier, according to the Dinocrat:

Bret Stephens apparently did not see the significance of Eason Jordans comments, which were merely a defamatory innuendo, served up by the lower classes ... Was he just a clueless reporter on the wrong beat? Hardly.

Mr. Stephens says this in his WSJ piece: By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forums panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. Well, whether he was in that particular audience by chance is not the story. Stephens has a relationship with the World Economic Forum that he did not disclose in his op-ed. He is a newly minted member of one of the worlds most exclusive clubs, the Forum of Young Global Leaders, a kind of YPO on steroids, featuring precisely 1111 men and women under forty worldwide. The Forum is affiliated with, though governed separately from, the World Economic Forum[.]

Dinocrat also notes that Stephens has just been admitted to the membership of this club last year. Eason Jordan sits on the board of the WEF, closely affiliated with Stephens' new club, in charge of the WEF's "Global Leaders Of Tomorrow Programme", which sounds as it it covers the YGL to which Stephens had just been admitted. It appears that Stephens didn't just happen to be at the WEF "by chance", nor one suspects at that particular forum. It's certainly a strange coincidence that Stephens kept quiet for two weeks after giving Barney Frank kudos for acting to defend the US military and delivering a mild rebuke to Jordan, while implying that Jordan's critics are somehow mentally imbalanced.

Did Stephens pull punches in both of his reports because of his affiliation with YGL and the WEF to assist a WEF board member? Undobtedly Stephens should have disclosed his connections to the WEF and to Eason when he wrote his opinion piece today. In that way, we could all have made an informed judgment as to whether Stephens acted as a spokesperson for his club, which has a stake in protecting the WEF and the reputation of its board members. One suspects that the Wall Street Journal might agree.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 10, 2005 12:29 PM

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